Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

July 2005

Disc of the Month

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An die ferne Geliebte & Schwanengesang

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2005

Best of Category - Vocal

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2005

Label:

Decca

Catalogue No:

4756011

Discs:

1

Release date:

11th April 2005

Barcode:

0028947560111

Length:

71 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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An die ferne Geliebte & Schwanengesang


Beethoven:

An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), Op. 98

Schubert:

Schwanengesang, D957


(Live from Wigmore Hall)

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Applause

Applause

Ludwig van Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte, Op.98

1. Auf dem Hügel sitz ich spähend

2. Wo die Berge so blau

3. Leichte Segler in den Höhen

4. Diese Wolken in den Höhen

5. Es kehret der Maien, es blühet die Au

6. Nimm sie hin denn diese Lieder

Applause

Applause

Franz Schubert: Schwanengesang, D.957

Liebesbotschaft

Kriegers Ahnung

Frühlingssehnsucht

Ständchen

Aufenthalt

Franz Schubert: Herbst, D.945

Herbst, D.945

Franz Schubert: Schwanengesang, D.957

In der Ferne

Abschied

Der Atlas

Ihr Bild

Das Fischermädchen

Die Stadt

Am Meer

Der Doppelgänger

Applause

Applause

Franz Schubert: Schwanengesang, D.957

Die Taubenpost, D. 965a

Applause

Applause

BBC Music Magazine

June 2008

“A souvenir-document that all Schubert and Goerne/Brendel fanciers will itch to acquire.”

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Editor's Choice

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Tchaikovsky: Morceaux & Chopin: Nocturne No. 20

Tchaikovsky: Morceaux & Chopin: Nocturne No. 20


Chopin:

Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. post.

Tchaikovsky:

Morceaux (18), Op. 72


“Pletnev brings Tchaikovsky's music vividly to life” BBC Music Magazine, 1st July 2008

“Mikhail Pletnev's persuasive 1986 recording of Tchaikovsky's 18 Morceaux for Melodiya was unfortunately hampered by strident sound and an ill-tuned piano. Happily, a state-of-the-art situation prevails in this new live recording for Deutsche Grammophon, extending, of course, to Pletnev's own contributions. His caring, characterful and technically transcendent way with this cycle casts each piece in a three-dimensional perspective that honours the composer's letter and spirit beyond the music's 'salon' reputation, while making the most of its pianistic potential. The results are revelatory, akin to, say, Ignaz Friedman's illuminating re-creations of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words.
The Fifth Morceau, 'Meditation', demonstrates the Pletnev-Tchaikovsky chemistry at its most sublime. The melodies are firmly projected yet flexibly arched over the bar-lines, as if emerging from different instruments, culminating in a febrile central climax that gently dissipates into some of the most ravishing trills on record. In No 8, 'Dialogue', Pletnev elevates Tchaikovsky's quasi parlando with the type of off-hand skill and pinpoint timing of a master actor who knows just which lines to throw away.
Note, too, the deliciously pointed scales and music-box colorations in No 13, 'Echo rustique'.
Shades of Liszt's Third Liebestraum seep into No 14, 'Chant élégiaque', in what amounts to a masterclass in how to sustain long melodies against sweeping accompaniments. A stricter basic pulse throughout No-9, 'Un poco di Schumann', might have made the dotted rhythms and two strategically placed ritenutos more obviously Schumannesque, yet there's no denying the inner logic the looser treatment communicates.
There's extraordinary virtuosity behind the musical insights. For example, the interlocking octaves in the coda to No-7, 'Polacca de concert', are unleashed with Horowitz- like ferocity and not a trace of banging. The rapid, vertigoinducing triplet runs in No 10, 'Scherzo- fantaisie', could scarcely be more even and controlled.
Pletnev is all over the final, unbuttoned trepak in grand style, and he certainly makes the glissandos swing. A fresh, unfettered account of Chopin's C sharp minor Nocturne is offered as an encore to this urgently recommended recital.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2005

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - July 2005

DG - E4775378

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Vivaldi - Violin Concertos

Vivaldi - Violin Concertos


Vivaldi:

Concerto for Violin "Il Grosso Mogul" in D major RV 208

Concerto, Op. 3 No. 10 'Con quattro Violini e Violoncello obligato', RV 580

Concerto for Violin in C Major RV 187

Violin Concerto in D major, RV234 'L'Inquietudine'

Violin Concerto in E minor, RV277 'Il favorito'


“Mullova teams up with one of the most sparkling of the baroque bands around.” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2007

“Viktoria Mullova isn't quite a Baroque violinist – her Strad is fitted with gut strings, she's using a Baroque bow and she plays very stylishly – but there's something about her sound that betrays the modern virtuoso. Her vibrato is modest but it's used in a way that harks back to her conventional Russian training. Much more important than rating her on a scale of authenticity, however, is to note that it's top-class violin playing: the rhythms are lively and poised, all the passagework is beautifully clear and exact.
The programme is excellent, too, in the way it shows the wide range of Vivaldi's imagination.
The rarely encountered RV187 is a lovely piece, full of delightful original touches, in contrast to the better known Grosso Mogul which, despite its brilliance and its satisfying formal design, is oppressively short of significant ideas.
Il Giardino Armonico provide an immensely spirited accompaniment, four members taking the extra solo roles in Op 3 No 10 with great style. Vivaldi's music needs strong contrasts in performance; it should create a sense of amazement, which these accounts supply in a striking and convincing way. The prevalence of ferocious accents, ultra-short off-the-string bowing, and exaggerated dynamic shading is a little troubling: the strongest, swiftest bow stroke should retain the character of a gesture, rather than a hammer blow. But whether or not you agree, you're likely to enjoy the vigour, colourful variety and sheer expertise of these performances.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2005

Onyx - ONYX4001

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Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss


Strauss, R:

Don Juan, Op. 20

Macbeth, Op. 23

Die heiligen drei Könige aus Morgenland Op. 56 No. 6

Waldseligkeit, Op. 49 No. 1

Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1

Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4

Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1

Meinem Kinde, Op. 37 No. 3

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4


“Anne Schwanewilms, already well-known as an interpreter of Arabella and other Strauss heroines, challenges the likes of Della Casa, Schwarzkopf and Janowitz, and isn't put in the shade by the comparison. Her silvery tone soars easily into the grateful lines of these warm, glowing songs, and she has the gift to fine down her tone to ravishing pianissimi. She catches the rich-hued character of Waldseligkeit, the intimacy of Wiegenlied and Meinem Kinde, the sad serenity of Morgen and the inner intensity of Befreit, one of Strauss's most profound settings.
Just once or twice her approach seems a shade self-regarding but, by and large, these are nearideal readings, securely supported by Mark Elder and his orchestra.
This is the latest in the series of recordings emanating from the Hallé and does much to confirm their high place in this country's orchestral hierarchy today. There are many masterly accounts of Don Juan in the catalogue but this one, nicely timed and richly played, is up among the best. By comparison Macbeth, Strauss's first tone-poem and written a year earlier, seems rather an empty piece, successful neither as an evocation of the play nor as a piece in its own right. Elder and the Hallé make as good a case as they can for it and – as a whole – the programme works well, the Lieder sandwiched between the two orchestral works.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Fans of the Hallé will be delighted with Mark Elder's intense but spacious accounts of the tone poems here… Schwanewilms often begins with lines of instrumental purity, beautifully attuned to Elder's careful orchestral detail, before negotiating a surge of human emotion of a change of colour: the move to the minor key in 'Wiegenlied' and the recitative while the orchestra holds its breath in 'Morgen'! are especially telling.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2005 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2005

Hallé - CDHLL7508

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Henry du Mont - Grands motets for the chapel of Louis XIV at the Louvre

Henry du Mont - Grands motets for the chapel of Louis XIV at the Louvre


Mont:

Motet Super Flumina Babylonis - Psalm 136

Dialogus de anima

Motet Ecce iste venit saliens

Motet Benedic Anima mea - Psalm 102


Ensemble Pierre Robert, Frédéric Desenclos (organ, Claude Parizot 1739 & direction)

“Henry Du Mont has long been credited as one of the creators, alongside Lully, of the grandmotet, the opulent style of church composition for soloists, choir and orchestra associated with Louis XIV's chapel at Versailles. The Pierre Robert Ensemble take a different view. Noting that Du Mont's 20 Motets pour la Chapelle du Roy, printed two years after his death in 1684, contain the kind of clumsy viola parts reconcilable with the work of a publisher's hack, they propose that such 'posthumous tawdry' can be dispensed with to reveal the originals as more intimate works for five solo singers, two violins and continuo, probably written for pre-Versailles times at the Louvre palace. It's in this form that they present three of the motets here, emphasising their argument by adding the semi-dramatic Dialogus de anima, scored for the same line-up.
When performed and recorded as beautifully and sensitively as they are here, Du Mont's plangent harmonies and dissonances reach into the listener's heart with sensuous clarity. These are near-perfect performances by an ensemble ideal for such ravishing music, and who, in Marcel Beekman, have an haute-contre of striking quality.
Frédéric Desenclos's tidy organ solos break up the programme nicely, but the motets are the stars.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2005

A Musical Picture - up to 40% off

Alpha - ALPHA069

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American Classics - William Bolcom

American Classics - William Bolcom


Bolcom:

Songs of Innocence and of Experience (William Blake)


Measha Brueggergosman, Ilona Davidson (soprano), Joan Morris (mezzo-soprano), Nathan Lee Graham (baritone), Thomas Young (tenor), Tommy Morgan (harmonica), Peter Ruth (harmonica, vocals)

University of Michigan School of Music Symphony Orchestra & Musical Society, Leonard Slatkin

“This is a magnum opus that occupied Bolcom for 25 years, starting as early as 1956. He's drawn on a wide range of musical styles to parallel Blake's method of moving from sophisticated to almost folk idioms. In some features – diatonic writing, English text and children's voices – Britten's Spring Symphony is in the background, but Bolcom is defined by the styles he juxtaposes with carefully calculated transitions in between.
Some of the most memorable moments involve popular idioms, evoking his ragtime performances or the songs he recorded so vividly with his wife Joan Morris. The word-setting is straightforward, reflecting the strophic poems, and refreshingly free from elaboration. The Songs of Innocence are charming and pastoral but in the Songs of Experience there's real anger at the human predicament.
This recording is based on a live performance with massive forces comprising 10 soloists, three choirs totalling almost 350 singers and a full symphony orchestra plus a harmonica and various extra electronic players and percussion.
Nathan Lee Graham is an actor-singer who can project his catchy tunes and spoken poems; Joan Morris exercises all her magic in a range of styles, but Thomas Young seems too consistently declamatory. Christine Brewer is magisterial in numbers that reflect the modernistic side of Bolcom, and Carmen Pelton has a rare purity of sound.
This unique Blake spectacular makes a cumulative impact that represents Bolcom's wide stylistic embrace at its most ambitious.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2005

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Naxos American Classics - 8559216-18

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Gillian Weir plays The Grand Organ of the Royal Albert Hall

Gillian Weir plays The Grand Organ of the Royal Albert Hall


Elgar:

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major, Op. 39 No. 1

Nimrod (from Enigma Variations)

Howells:

Rhapsody for Organ No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 17 No. 3

Lanquetuit:

Toccata in D major

Liszt:

Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem undam', S259

Francis Asola walking on the water

Parry:

Toccata and Fugue 'The Wanderer'


Gillian Weir (organ)

First Recording Of The Restored Organ

“…Liszt's Ad nos… is magisterial, its 30-minute span commandingly paced, its grandeur and rhapsody held in equilibrium. As for the concluding Toccata by Marcel Lanquetuit, move over Widor! When word gets out, this humunguously glorious earful is going to rocket up the wedding charts.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2005 ****

“The sight and sound of the Royal Albert Hall organ are familiar to Proms-goers, but for those who regard it as merely a noisy backdrop to the orchestral works of Elgar, Mahler, Strauss and others, this CD will come as a revelation.
There's a wealth of colourful quiet registers on the newly restored instrument which are fully exploited by Dame Gillian Weir, including a soft percussion Carillon stop heard during Liszt's Ad nos Fantasia.
She gives this giant composition a truly authentic 19th-century Romantic-style performance, with an unhurried approach to the slow middle movement and rhythmic virtuosity in the rapid outer sections. The vast tutti of the organ makes the C major conclusion even more glorious than usual and her account of this piece is one of the most spectacular you'll ever hear.
The other solo works are equally successful.
Howells's Rhapsody is passionate and eloquent, and Parry's Toccata and Fugue has a dignified flow. In comparison, Cook and Lanquetuit's pieces may seem lightweight, but the former has some attractive jazzy elements and the latter is as dazzling a French toccata as you'd hear from Dupré, Widor et al. Meanwhile, the transcriptions of Elgar and Liszt are entirely convincing thanks to Weir's skill as a colourist.
Priory has done the RAH organ proud with an excellent recording and a comprehensive booklet.
One must salute the endurance of Weir and engineer Paul Crichton for making this disc during the hall's only available hours – 1am to 6am. This is an exceptionally fine CD that should become a landmark recording.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2005

Priory - PRCD859

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Herbert Howells - Orchestral Works

Herbert Howells - Orchestral Works


Howells:

King's Herald

arranged for full orchestra and organ from the suite Pageantry

Paradise Rondel, Op. 40

Fantasia for cello and orchestra

Threnody for cello and orchestra

Pastoral Rhapsody

Procession, Op. 36

The B's, Op. 13 - suite for orchestra

Three Dances for violin and orchestra, Op. 7

In Green Ways, Op. 43


“A repackaging of music rarely heard in Howell's lifetime. Not on grounds of quality, surely: two movements for cello and orchestra, a characterful suite The B's, and a song-cycle In Green Ways are all worth resurrecting.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2005 ****

“The inspired suite, The Bs, celebrates the composer's musician friends and colleagues at the Royal College of Music at the beginning of the 1914-18 war...Hickox and the LSO are ardent and communicative advocates of all this fine music...A most attractive bargain reissue, joining together two equally desirable discs.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - July 2005

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos 241 - CHAN241-20

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